Paolo Di Canio rings the changes on mobiles

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has banned mobile phones, ketchup and coffee. Sang Tan / AP Photo
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Paolo Di Canio, the Sunderland manager, has revealed some of the strict rules he has introduced at the club, including the banning of mobile phones and tomato ketchup.

Di Canio succeeded Martin O’Neill in March and has vowed to get tough with his players, who began their English Premier League campaign on Saturday with a 1-0 home loss to Fulham.

"This is a complete revolution," he told the Daily Telegraph. "We've focused on changing the whole dressing-room environment. Imagine if for years your habit is to use the phone when you're having a massage on the bed, even one minute before going out to train.

“For 25 days I accepted this, because my first priority was to work on the field. However, I’ve said that from now if someone comes inside with a mobile phone, even in their bag, I’ll throw it in the North Sea. They’re banned.”

The Italian is also determined to exert greater control over the squad’s diet, as he seeks to improve on a 2012/13 campaign in which Sunderland escaped relegation by just three points.

“We need to have lectures about why we can’t have everyday things like mayonnaise, ketchup and Coke,” he said.

“Even coffee can be a problem. You can have one when you get up, but not an hour before you go out training or playing. We give the players diet sheets to follow. Obviously, you have to enjoy life. I won’t say anything if one day you like to go and have a cheeseburger.”

– Agence France-Presse